Wednesday, May 11, 2016

You spun me right round, baby...

Last month I took a little trip to participate in another research study.  It was a whirlwind of a single day near Philadelphia, PA at the NASTAR (National Aerospace Training and Research) facility.  The study is looking at the effectiveness of training for non-astronauts to participate in future commercial sub-orbital space flights.

The real attractant to me for this study was the chance to ride the big centrifuge at NASTAR.  I'd never done this before, and figured it was a worthwhile experience to add to the old life's resume (kind of like all that time in Antarctica).  The closest experience I had before this was riding the Round Up at the county fair as a kid.  I also didn't have to pay to ride the centrifuge, just the travel costs to and fro (which included getting to drive a brand spanking new Chevy Impala rental car, with all of 6 miles on it when I headed out to drive the mean streets of Philly and I-95).

Visualizations were projected on the interior of the centrifuge cabin, which were quite realistic.  The truly gripping sensation was the acceleration, though.  That was awesome.  And, I don't use that word lightly...

“But experience is the best teacher, hunger good sauce, and I really think to be acquainted with misery contributes to the enjoyment of happiness, and to know one’s self greatly facilitates the knowledge of mankind.”
~”Journal of a Trapper” by Osborne Russell